This rather insipid biopic sputters and flails in the dust of the excellent documentary, “The Notorious RBG”, that preceded it.
Even the documentary’s title is forthright and a little cheeky, perfectly describing the formidable lawyer-come-Supreme Court Judge, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who surmounted sexism, anti-semitism and her diminutive stature to become one of the heroes of the American legal system. The biopic takes its title from a bit of legalise in the landmark ruling on gender equality that established Ginsberg’s reputation, but “on the basis of sex” is a passive, nondescript phrase that sets the tone for the film.
Felicity Jones falls short (no pun intended) as Ginsberg; she doesn’t project her laser-like focus and fierce tenacity, nor does she nail Ginsberg’s distinct New York accent. Armie Hammer as Martin Ginsberg is despicably handsome and impossibly benevolent. The cast includes some impressive names (Kathy Bates, Sam Waterston and Justin Theroux) but alas the script is a “just add cliches” cake mix and not the tribute Ginsberg deserves.
Reviewed by Rita Bratovich